Equity in St. Vrain Valley Schools
Equity is achieved when each and every student has access to a wide variety of resources, spaces, models, programs, strategies, and highly-skilled staff in order to graduate prepared for success after school no matter their race, ethnicity, language, religion, ability, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or economic status.
St. Vrain Valley Schools recognizes that excellence requires a commitment to equity and to identifying and addressing practices, policies, and institutional barriers, including institutional racism, that perpetuate opportunity and achievement gaps. The district must work endlessly to acknowledge racial and cultural biases and eliminate institutional structures and practices that affect student learning and achievement.
St. Vrain’s commitment and examples of our work around equity can be seen in the following programs:
For over a decade, St. Vrain has offered high-quality preschool programs in every school community. Research has shown that robust and high-quality early childhood education programs is pivotal to ensuring equity and giving students a strong foundation for academic growth and success.
In addition to high-quality preschool programs, St. Vrain Valley Schools has offered full-day kindergarten in all elementary schools for over a decade.
Full-day kindergarten programs improve the health prospects of low-income and racial and ethnic minority children, based on evidence that full-day programs substantially improve reading and mathematics achievement—determinants of long-term academic and health-related outcomes (e.g., reduced teen pregnancy and risk behaviors)—when compared with half-day kindergarten or full-day kindergarten on alternating days.
Investments throughout our schools
St. Vrain Valley Schools has invested millions of dollars in our schools. This has included the $16.6 million Race-to-the-Top grant, and the $3.6 million Investing in Innovation (i3) grant. These investments included significant upgrades to school buildings and classrooms, in addition to the wide implementation of STEM focus programming and the opening of the district’s Innovation Center.
Innovation Center and Career Development Center
St. Vrain Valley Schools offers robust curriculum and programs that are giving all students a strong competitive advantage for future success. Through the Innovation Center and the Career Development Center, students can earn many industry certifications and gain experience in fast growing technology and manufacturing industries.
Pathways in Technology Early College High School
St. Vrain Valley Schools is home to Colorado’s first Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program, now offered at three district high schools. P-TECH is a new type of school that brings together the best elements of high school, college and the professional world, allowing students to earn a high school diploma as well an Associate degree at no cost to the student. The program includes significant internship and mentorship opportunities alongside industry partners, giving students a head start in their career after completing the program. Students enroll in 9th grade and complete the program in 4-6 years.
St. Vrain has three P-TECH programs, opening the first in 2016 at Skyline High School. Program recruitment focuses on first generation college students and students who may not traditionally pursue a STEM pathway.
Pathways to Teaching
The P-TEACH Program introduces St. Vrain high school students to a career as an educator by offering a variety of concurrent enrollment courses. Students can earn credit through UC Denver, as well as participate in a variety of enrichment activities such as field trips to the UC Denver School of Education and Human Development. This is one critical strategy that St. Vrain is focusing on to diversify our teaching ranks and provide additional career pathways that will keep our students in our community beyond graduation.
Rigorous Graduation Requirements
St. Vrain Valley Schools has some of the most rigorous graduation requirements in the state, ensuring that all students graduate with the number of credits required to apply to any postsecondary program in Colorado. As we have increased rigor, we have seen significant gains in student achievement, with minority students graduation rates and other academic growth indicators climbing at a faster rate than white students, making significant gains in closing the achievement gap.
Open Enrollment and School Choice
St. Vrain believes strongly that school attendance should not be limited by zipcode. To this end, students and families can enroll in any school or program that best fits their needs and interests. Additionally, the district has developed over 70 instructional focus programs that provide focused content delivery on top of the already rigorous academic foundation available at every school.
Unified Sports & Music
St. Vrain Valley Schools has been nationally recognized for supporting students with disabilities and our Unified programs. Unified programs use a collaborative approach to enrich student life, and entire school communities. Instead of guts, glory and trophies, think cooperation, generosity and even selflessness. The players – students with special needs – are shadowed during games and practice by non-disabled student “partners” who are there solely to coach and encourage them. Programs across the district include basketball, percussion, bowling, flag football, and soccer.
Supporting LGBTQ Students
St. Vrain has strong partnerships with local LGBTQ advocacy organizations and many policies and resource to support LGBTQ students.
Seal of Biliteracy
St. Vrain Valley Schools recognizes students who have studied and attained proficiency or higher in English and at least one other language with the Seal of Biliteracy. This award, given at graduation, provides students with a competitive advantage in the employment market as well as increased opportunities for higher education.
Increasing Diversity of Leadership, Administrators, Teachers, and Staff
Our human resources team continues to prioritize recruitment, hiring, and retention of a workforce that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve.
To ensure all students have access to high-quality learning devices, St. Vrain Valley Schools has implemented a 1:1 iPad program. Starting with middle school students in 2012 the program has now expanded to include students at all grade levels. Additionally, the district supports many initiatives to ensure that families have internet access at home.
Community Equity Partnerships
St. Vrain Valley Schools partners with many community organizations and cultural brokers to take a collaborative and comprehensive approach to supporting equity and student success. Partner organizations include: the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Erie PTO, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), OASOS Boulder County, OUT Boulder, the Hispanic Education Foundation, ELPASO – Engaged Latino Parents Advancing Student Outcomes, El Comite de Longmont, the Cultural Brokers Resilience Program, A Queer Endeavor, and Children, Youth & Family Services.
Districtwide Equity Professional Development
St. Vrain Valley Schools as a robust professional development program that includes a strong focus on equity training and other opportunities for teachers and staff to engage in learning on topics that will support the advancement of all students. To continue advancing teacher and staff development on these important topics, St. Vrain has developed an Equity Foundation Training, and has developed a framework around Courageous Conversations in partnership with our Community Equity Partners Focus Group. Additionally, we are planning for a Equity Summer Institute that will launch in 2021.
Advancing Excellence for Every Student
Across all schools in the St. Vrain Valley, our students are advancing excellence and will be the future leaders who will change our world. St. Vrain continues to focus on advancing the well-being and academic achievement of all students by implementing strategies that have closed the opportunity and achievement gaps. Highlights include:
- 5th grade CMAS reading continues to increase for all students and outpace the state. Hispanic students increased the percentage of students meeting or exceeding expectations in reading achievement by 11 percent and 10 percent in math achievement over five years.
- Hispanic and Black students have a 100% pass rate in Algebra 1 taken in 8th grade, with additional summer academic programming to support Algebra 1 success in transition to 9th grade.
- St. Vrain Valley Schools was one of four Colorado school districts and one of 373 nationwide to make the College Board’s Annual AP District Honor Roll. The AP Honor Roll recognizes school districts committed to increasing access to AP courses for all students.
- Overall, there has been a 62 percent increase in the number of AP Exams taken in 5 years while increasing the percentage of students scoring 3 or higher. Hispanic students taking AP exams has increased 92 percent in five years and Black students taking AP exams has increased 50 percent in five years, all while also increasing the number of students scoring a 3 or higher.
- Over the past ten years, St. Vrain’s overall on-time graduation rate has increased 14 percent while the on-time Hispanic graduation rate has increased 30.8 percent.
- The overall district dropout rate has decreased 1.5 percent to a rate of 0.8 percent. The Hispanic student dropout rate has decreased 3.4 percent to a rate of 1.4 percent.
- For the past two years, the district has had no expulsions, down from 39 expulsions ten years ago.
- Student engagement in athletics, activities, and the arts has increased 25 percent over the past four years.
If you have questions about the equity in St. Vrain Valley Schools, please do not hesitate to reach out to our equity team leads.